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Distributed for DIAPHANES


The Macy Conferences 1946-1953. The Complete Transactions

Revised edition

Distributed for DIAPHANES


The Macy Conferences 1946-1953. The Complete Transactions

Revised edition

Between 1946 and 1953, the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation sponsored a series of conferences aiming to bring together a diverse, interdisciplinary community of scholars and researchers who would join forces to lay the groundwork for the new science of cybernetics. These conferences, known as the Macy conferences, constituted a landmark for the field. They were the first to grapple with new terms such as information and feedback and to develop a cohesive and broadly applicable theory of systems that would become equally applicable to living beings and machines, economic and cognitive processes, and many scholarly disciplines. The concepts that emerged from the conferences come to permeate thinking in many fields, including biology, neurology, sociology, ecology, economics, politics, psychoanalysis, linguistics, and computer science.

This book contains the complete transcripts of all ten Macy conferences and the guidelines for the conference proceedings. These transcripts are supplemented with an introduction by Claus Pias that charts the significance of the Macy conferences to the history of science.

736 pages | 78 halftones | 6 x 9 1/4 | © 2016

Culture Studies


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Table of Contents

Editorial Note

The Age of Cybernetics
Claus Pias

Introductory Discussions

The Psychological Moment in Perception
John Stroud

The Neurotic Potential and Human Adaptation
Lawrence S. Kubie

Quantum Mechanical Theory of Memory
Heinz von Foerster

Possible Mechanisms of Recall and Recognition

Sensory Prosthesises
Norbert Wiener



Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation Conference Program
Frank Fremont-Smith

Introductory Remarks
Warren S. McCulloch

Some of the Problems Concerning Digital Notions in the Central Nervous System
Ralph W. Gerard

The Manner in Which and Extent to Which Speech Can Be Distorted and Remain Intelligible
J.C.R. Licklider

The Redundancy of English
Claude E. Shannon

Experience in Learning Primitive Languages Through the Use of Learning High Level Linguistic Abstractions
Margaret Mead

On the Development of Word Meanings
Heinz Werner

The Development of Language in Early Childhood
John Stroud

The Relationship of Symbolic Function in Language Formation and in Neurosis
Lawrence S. Kubie

Appendix I: Body Symbolization and Development of Language 
Lawrence S. Kubie

Appendix II: References


Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation Conference Program

A Note by the Editors

Communication Patterns in Problem-Solving Groups
Alex Bavelas

Communication Between Men: The Meaning of Language 
Ivor A. Richards

Communication Between Sane and Insane: Hypnosis
Lawrence S. Kubie

Communication Between Animals
Herbert G. Birch

Presentation of a Maze-Solving Machine
Claude Shannon

In Search of Basic Symbols
Donald M. Mac Kay

Appendix I: The Nomenclature of Information Theory
Donald M. Mac Kay

Explanatory Glossary 

Alphabetical Index of Terms Used in Information Theory and Related Communication Theory

Appendix II: References


Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation Conference Program

A Note by the Editors

The Position of Humor in Human Communication 
Gregory Bateson

The Place of Emotions in the Feedback Concept
Lawrence S. Kubie

W. Ross Ashby

Discrimination and Learning in Octopus
J.Z. Young

Reduction of the Number of Possible Boolean Functions
John R. Bowman

Central Excitation and Inhibition
Ralph W. Gerard

Mechanical Chess Player
W. Ross Ashby

Turbulence as Random Stimulation of Sense Organs
G. Evelyn Hutchinson

Investigations on Synaptic Transmission
Walter Pitts

Feedback Mechanism in Cellular Biology
Henry Quastler

Appendix I: References

The Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation Conference Program

Introductory Remarks
Warren S. Mc Culloch

Studies on Activity of the Brain
W. Grey-Walter

Semantic Information and its Measures
Yehoshua Bar-Hillel

Meaning in Language and How it is Acquired
Yuen Ren Chao

Appendix I: Summary of the Points of Agreement Reached in the Previous Nine Conferences on Cybernetics 
Warrant S. Mc Culloch

Appendix II: References


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